Katie’s story

I am a British citizen who moved to Cape Town, South Africa in February 2010 to be with my partner; a South African citizen. He has visited England on three separate occasions but has never lived in the UK. We got married in October 2010 after a 3 year relationship.

My Father passed away in April 2012. My husband and I now feel it is the right time to move back permanently to the UK to be with my Mother, who is living alone in Acle, Norfolk and needs the support of her family.

Through our own in-depth research and guidance from immigration consultants, we were shocked and saddened by the new laws that were passed on the 9th July 2012. We meet all of the criteria for a Settlement Visa; however we believe the financial requirements to be totally absurd and incredibly harsh. I have already got an offer of employment in the UK and our intention is to live with my Mother for the interim, consequently there is no need to rely on any public funding.

I have been working in Cape Town as an Au-pair for the past 2 and a half years, earning a reasonable salary. However, taking the exchange rate into account and the fact that salaries are considerably lower in South Africa then it has not been possible for me to meet the £18,600 gross annual salary. I am aware of the need for savings to take care of the shortfall in my salary but these amounts of money appear totally absurd! I have been told by an immigration consultant that I, as my husband’s British sponsor must take full financial responsibility, a situation which seems totally hopeless at this moment in time. I have also been advised to return to the UK and work for 6 or more months in order to earn the required salary while my husband remains in South Africa. I believe these new regulations to be incredibly unfair. What married couple wants to spend 6 to 12 months living in separate countries? I do not understand the logic in these new changes!

I realise the changes came to pass on the 9th July and it makes me so angry that overnight people are expected to have thousands and thousands of pounds in savings if they simply do not meet the annual gross salary. These requirements are quite frankly ridiculous and will no doubt cause partners and families to be torn apart if they are forced to live separately! We do not have the funds to seek legal advice & see no point applying for the settlement visa at present as we are not prepared to lose so much money in the appliction process. The plan is to apply for a Visitor Visa at the moment which is not ideal but we want to be together, I just hope this one will be approved!

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